Check out my new website, which hopefully exemplifies all that we’ve learned about creating web content! My website is geared towards future employers in art related fields such as museums, galleries, and organizations. So, I tried to instill it with an “I love art” feel by putting a De Kooning abstract as my background and using brushstrokes and paint swatches as graphics.
Sexual Diversion: Cybersex
Virilio focuses on how technology has made cybersex and pornography an accessible and often desired part of life. In my opinion, he seems to imply that technology is solely to blame. However, the world has always been a sexually fascinated one, and you can see this with art, which has always served as a means for pornography to surface. You can see it as early as 22,000 BC sculptures, to the 1400’s Birth of Venus by Botticelli, to Ingres‘ scandalous Grand Odalisque.
No matter what the time period, there has always been a fascination with what Virilio calls “the object-woman”, but also with sex. Technology, however, has provided new and more accessible ways to fulfill sexual desires, and Virilio claims that this cybersex technology will ultimately distance us completely. For example, he talks about the data suit innovation that “orchestrates sexual sensations” as a replacement for sex, and virtual weddings as the newest way to tie the knot. Do you agree with Virilio’s arguement? Do you think technology can completely replace our desire for both sex and love?
With these new technologies, there are more demands for women. Multimedia has changed the way we percieve the female body. Now not only do women have the pressure to look a certain way, but technology provides the means to reinvent the way we look. Again, while technology has certainly made this accessible, there has always been “an ideal” women are pressured to adhere to. If you look at Botticelli’s painting, Venus is depicted with perfect and ideal proportions. Because Ingres’ woman is intentionally painted as distorted, his Odalisque was not recieved so well. These ideals existed long before technology. However, technology has allowed these ideals to more dominantly infiltrate our lives.
The Industrialization of the Eye
In his “Eye Lust” chapter of Open Sky, Virilio argues we are not seeing the way we used to, and proclaims we have been afflicted with a “perceptual disorder” that makes us visually challenged. Thus, this has led, or will lead if it has not already, to the industrialization of vision. As a result, we are no longer “eyewitnesses of tangible reality.” This industrialization of the eye according to Virilio is affected us in the physical sense, but, more importantly, the ethical sense.
Virilio discusses a myraid of modern innovations that have altered the way we see. Now, we have more than just glasses to transform the way we see. He exemplifies this with the recent creation of the laser scanner. “This system uses lasers employed in eye surgery that can safely scan low intensity beams directly onto the back of the retina and modulate colour images.” Therefore, science has changed the way our eye operates, and has allowed us to easily obtain an artificial vision.
Kafka says innovations like cinema are like “pulling a uniform over our eyes.” So, just as the technological innovations have altered the physical nature of our eyes, it changes the way we percieve the world. Mass media now seems to dictate what we see. Virilio claims we are clearly not truly free to choose what we see—do you agree? Have modern innovations changed our vision for the worst? In the 1920’s, artists agreed with Virilo that the way we now see is not sufficient. I may have mentioned this in a past post, but the eye became a dominant symbol to show their disdain for the modern mechanized eye. Salvador Dali‘s The Painter’s Eye depicts an eye on crutches, worn down by the fast paced modern world. The fact that the eye holds a myriad of paintbrushes implies that, in the modern world, there is only one eye, one machine, working. Our vision has become mechanized to the operate according to one machine. Dali therefore implements modern elements, such as the phone, the car, and the brick man with the clock on his face in the background, to represent the effect of mechanization on vision. Like the brick man in the background, our eye ticks along with modern society. Through this representations, the eye symbolizes the vision as a mechanized aspect of society as Virilio seems to also infer.
What’s most important when analyzing a website? In “Online Editing, Designing, and Publishing,” Carroll presents a general guideline to follow when managing a website. Understanding and adhering to an approach similar to Carroll is crucial for today’s “content producer.” This especially holds true for artists. The new opportunities brought by media convergence invite artists to showcase their work in novel ways. However, “getting it right” is also a challenge.
“Each and every element on a Web page should be scrutinized”–Brian Carroll
With every element in web design and editing held up to criticism, Carroll’s guidelines become an invaluable tool. His approach encompasses three crucial components:
- Identifying with your readers
- Clear and consistent structure and organization
- Edit, edit, edit!
These can be demonstrated through the website of Lulie Wallace, who paints the beautiful and funky flowers always being pinned on pinterest.
Case Study: Lulie Wallace
Carroll argues we must be concerned about the readers need. To have a successful website you must know and reach out to your readers. I think Lulie achieves this through her blog, which is directed at her audience. This shows who the artist is behind the paintings.
Second, Carroll emphasizes the importance of developing content that is organized and easy to navigate. The reader must have a clear sense of how to get through the page. A key way to accomplish this is through consistency, especially in headlines and in templates. Lulie best does this through her flowers, which is what she primarily sells. Her audience can expect that in her work, but it’s also a design element on her website, which ties it all together. I also like how she uses the same fonts throughout the page. Her homepage is clearly organized with her name in large letters, and smaller headlines to lead to different links. This offers a clear and readable structure for the viewer.
Lastly, Carroll stresses the importance of editing; editing content, structure, navigation, links, writing, and visual design. In other words, everything. This can best be achieved by editing content in chunks at a random order as if you were a first time viewer. This “culture of editing” includes proof reading content for spelling and grammatical errors and analyzing the flow of stories. However, since Lulie only has a tumblr, she is limited on how much she can text. Do you think this hinders the success of her website? Or do you find its visual orientation satisfying? Would incorporating multimedia would enhance her website as well? If so, how can artists incorporate this?